Chronicles of Oklahoma

Skip Navigation

Electronic Publishing Center
Oklahoma Historical Society
Chronicles Homepage
Search all Volumes
Copyright 2001
Purchase an Issue

Table of Contents Index Volume List Search All Volumes Home

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 7, No. 3
September, 1929
A REMINISCENCE OF A METHODIST MINISTER’S DAUGHTER.

Page 260

June 25th, 1840 Francis Marion Paine,1 a youth of eighteen summers—married in Cobden, Illinois—Sue Rich2—a little sixteen year old blonde. She was converted at the age of eleven years and, though young in years and small in stature, a mighty power for God and the upbuilding of his kingdom. A Methodist "dyed-in-the-wool" one whom it seems was born to be a missionary and to spread the Wesley doctrine among the Indians, for just after her conversion her people, who were all Methodist, moved by covered wagon from Salem, Alabama to Cobden, Ill. On this journey they traveled three days with the Indians whom white officials were bringing to the new western country. This was only three short days and nights but her heart was so deeply pierced for the Indians’ salvation that she never forgot that early call. Her father, Thomas Rich, and her mother, Catherine Noah Rich, were old-time Methodists. At each quarterly conference a certificate was given the head of each household, showing they were in good standing in the church. Some of Thomas Rich’s grand, also great-grandchildren have one of these certificates in their possession and all of his descendants prize it as a rich heritage. Coming from these devout parents, she, Sue Rich Paine, lived a consecrated, prayerful Christian, believing God would answer prayer. Her sweet Christian character soon made a believer of her young husband and the result was in one year he joined the Methodist Church in 1841, beginning the study for the ministry. The spring of 1842 they left all her kindred in Illinois and traveled by covered wagon to the state line, across the Mississippi River into Missouri. He taught a small village school. At this place their oldest child, Emily, was born May 6th, 1842. In the fall of same year they moved to Springfield, Missouri, and at "The Old Gum Log" Church preached his first sermon.





Page 261

After his parents, who had in 1841 moved from Illinois to Springfield, Missouri, Gabriel and Mary Paine moved to Clarksville, Arkansas. He, Francis Marion Paine, was advised by both of their fathers to return to Cobden, Illinois and remain till his health improved. After arriving at her father’s home he lay six weeks with fever, every day expecting to pass to the great beyond, but God had a great work for him and his little wife. While at the home of Thomas Rich their second child, Mary Catherine, was born, September 30, 1843. In the spring of 1844 they crossed the Mississippi in a boat pulled by oars between the trees, for the great "Father of Rivers" was out of its banks far beyond, about one mile from its banks on the Arkansas side. It was slow traveling in those days for Arkansas was practically a new country, but these two were brave young people, whose faith was fixed in God and His promises. Finally they arrived at the little town, Clarksville, Arkansas, county seat of Johnson county; bought a little farm adjoining his father’s farm at the "Old Cross Roads," 2½ miles east of Clarksville on the main road to Little Rock. They lived by the side of the road and were a friend to mankind. At this cozy log cabin their third child, Eliza Jane, (Mrs. John W. Webb, deceased) was born November 5th, 1845. At this same place, November 17, 1847 their 4th child, Robert Laffayette, was born; also, while living at this home, September 8th, 1845 their eldest child, Emily died and was buried in Clarksville (Oakland Cemetery) Ark. They sold their farm and he, Rev. F. M. Paine, joined the Methodist Conference, November 1847, which convened at Clarsville, Arkansas. Rev. F. M. Paine was assigned to the Danville Circuit. At this place, 1849 twin boys were born and died at birth.

At Danville, February 26, 1851, a son, Thomas Wilson Paine was born. At the November, 1852 Conference they were sent to Jenny Lind and Greenwood. Living at the former place, he built the first school at Jenny Lind and named it Franklin Institute—was principal of this school; also practiced medicine at these two towns as help for the support of his family, for the conference in Arkansas at this time was not very strong financially. So while living at Clarksville, during the years 45-46-47, he studied medi-

Page 262

cine under Dr. Jackson, the leading physician of Clarksville at that time. Thus, by untiring energy and "dint" he and his faithful little wife paved the way as God guided them to a great missionary field. At Jenny Lind July 16th, 1853 Martha Ann was born (Mrs. Wm. Adkins of Van Buren, Ark.). At Jenny Lind, Arkansas this couple heard plainly the greatest call in their lives and they glady responded to the Methodist Conference and moved to the "Old Fort Coffee," male school, in November, 1854 as preacher, physician and teacher to the Indians. Rev. W. L. McAlester was superintendent at this time of Ft. Coffee Male School and New Hope Academy. While employed in Fort Coffee school, Joseph Benson Paine (Van Buren, Ark.) was born July 11, 1855. In 1856 Rev. J. C. Robinson, who was Supt. of Chickasaw Academy, which was located Southeast of Tishomingo and Northwest of Boggy depot, was in need of help to run this school in Chickasaw Nation. So the Methodist Indian Mission conference in 1856 transferred Rev. Francis Marion Paine to "Chickasaw Academy." August 22nd, 1857 Ellen Elizabeth Paine (Mrs. C. B. Wilson, deceased) was born at the "Chickasaw Academy." After this birth, at the meeting of conference the following fall they moved to Colbert Institute, he as Supt. The Colberts were great Methodist Indians and of wonderful help to the missionaries as was the Folsoms,3 McAlisters, Moniefls, Harlans, Sidhams, Duncans, Choats and others, whom Rev. F. M. Paine and his wife, Sue Rich Paine, held in sacred memory and often talked to their children about these noble, christian Indians, whom they expected to be among the blood-washed throng who would greet them in "The Sun-bright Clime." 1858 the Methodist Indian Conference transferred Rev. F. M. Paine to New Hope Academy in Choctaw Nation, about one mile from Skullyville, four miles from Spiro, Oklahoma, and made him Supt. and his wife Matron of this Mission of 75 pupils. At this place, Flora Paine (Ozark, Ark.), widow of Robert Edward Eichenberger, was born February 16, 1860. Rev. F. M. Paine was also Supt. of Fort Coffee Male School at same time; in 1861 he moved his family back to Fort Coffee Mis-



Page 263

sion where 100 Indian boys boarded in the school. His wife was matron. At this place Alice Hallie Paine (Mrs. D. B. Price of Helena, Montana) was born December 26, 1861. They superintended these schools till the spring of 1863. The schools were broken up by "Pin Indians" who joined Federal forces and caused great havoc in all the schools among, not only the white missionaries, but also the Christian Indians who disapproved of savagery and destruction. These wild Indians wore 4 common dress pins crossed tin the lapel of coats or on their shirts, and when making a raid through the Territory the news spread fast to these missions, and the cry went through the Schools, "The Pin Indians are coming." After they had taken the piano (a Chickering worth a thousand dollars) belonging to the Paine family, which was their hard-earned savings of many years, into the front flower yard, stripped it of everything but the body which they used to feed their horses in; then disappeared in the deep forest.

Rev. F. M. Paine as Supt. told the employees and Indian people he must close the school for the safety of all pupils and employees. This was a great trial to see what they had given the very best work of their lives for wickedly destroyed, and, what grieved them most was to know that white men under the cloak of the Federal Government were the men who did everything in their power to incite these unchristian Indians to barbarism. At one time while Rev. F. M. Paine was riding on horseback, preaching to the Red Men and working in the interest of missions his brave little wife was staying by the children and the "stuff". A drunken Indian rode up to the front gate with long knives in hand saying "Me kill white woman and babies"; as she knew she had only one person, an old negro man who did chores about the mission, whom she could depend on she gathered her little children to the second story of the house and locked the doors behind. It was summer vacation when all the pupils, except 20 young men who had no homes to go to, had gone home to their respective homes. These 20 young Indian boys were in the forest chopping wood for winter use. This little woman knew if the drunken Indian tarried long at the mission with his supply of whisky he would have all these boys

Page 264

and old Aunt Margaret, the Negro cook, who loved whisky, drunk, this wise little woman told the old Negro man that it would never do to let him stay on the premises. She told him to turn the bottles to his mouth then give bottle back to the Indian (She knew the old Negro would not drink a drop of whisky) and keep it up till the Indian would fall asleep—when he did, to come tell her. While this drinking was in progress, Sue Rich Paine, was locked-in up stairs with her small children (the two eldest girls and boys had not returned home from school in Arkansas and Texas) whom she comforted as she talked with God, telling them that God would deliver them. The old Negro called softly, "He is asleep on the front porch." She gathered a large rope, went down and with the assistance of this faithful southern Negro, she bound the drunken Indian to one of those old colonial porch colums; then started the Negro on horseback in haste to Ft. Smith. Soon officers arrived and took him back to Ft. Smith, where he had bought the whisky, leaving the white missionary woman and children praising God. This is only one of the many terrible things these people had to endure while planting the gospel in this wild Indian country. Many times Dr. Paine rode to his door almost frozen. One particular time his wife and two eldest boys had to carry him from off his horse into the house and fill a tub with ice to thaw the freeze out of his limbs. There were icicles hanging from his beard when taken into the house. We, as children of the noble Indian missionaries have a just right to rise up and call them blessed. In the spring of 1863 the Rev. F. M. Paine refugeed with his family to Paris, Texas, other missionaries following and boarding in his home. One maid about fifty years, employed as governess for the families of Rev. Mr. Carr, who built Bloomfield Academy, and Rev. F. 112. Paine at Paris, Texas, home where September 9th, 1864 Mary Emma (Mrs. H. S. Shangle of Milton, Oregon) the youngest child was born. The Fort Coffee School was burned during the Civil War. 1861, January 12th, their greatest sorrow up to that time came in the news of their child’s death at the age of 18 years, while attending the Fayetteville Academy in Arkansas. But the hardest blow came just as they were going down the hill of life,

Page 265

still in the service of the master, when a white man, through envy and love of money, influenced some unchristian Indians to kill their second son, so as to get him out of the Indian Territory. These two Christians could not understand why God permitted this terrible tragedy but they bowed their heads with broken hearts and passed under the rod.

Rev. Young Ewing was P. E. of Choctaw district 1860 and baptized Flora Paine, July 8th, 1860 into Indian Mission church of Methodist conference.

This crude sketch, which I have written hurriedly I trust will give you the desired information of early Methodism in wild Indian Territory, now the State of Oklahoma.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Flora Paine Eichenberger,
Ozark, Arkansas.

Franklin Co.,

Return to top


Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site